A face-to-face solicitation of any major gift can be nerve-wracking. Add in the current state of the economy and you have a recipe for stomach butterflies, intense sweats and babbling.
Preparing before the meeting can reduce your worry and increase your chances of landing that major gift, according to Barbara Ciconte, senior vice president of consulting services at Donor Strategies, Inc., in Chevy Chase, Md., and Jeanne Jacob, executive director of Goodwin House Foundation in Alexandria, Va., during the recent Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference, in National Harbor, Md.
Here are their tips:
- Make sure everything is just “right.” Face-to-face solicitations for major gifts should be carefully planned to work best with the prospect, from the right gift amount to the right setting. Ciconte and Jacob said that you should spend 80 percent of your time planning and just 20 percent of your time asking. Know why they want to give.
- Analyze why your prospect would want to make a gift. Do they have a personal experience with the mission? Do they care about their public image in the community? This could help you develop your strategy.
- Put everything on the table. Map out why the program is important, what plan will be in place, cost efficiencies and your successful track record. The donor is willing to make a bet on your mission with their money.
- Make sure they know it isn’t a gamble. Provide easily accessible information. Give donors something they can take home and look at when they think about your informational points. That can include a detailed case of support, brochures, newsletters or appeal letters. Foster a personal relationship by inviting the donor to special events, site visits and meetings with high-level staff.